The ECHR, Socio-Economic Disadvantage and Access to Justice

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Title: The ECHR, Socio-Economic Disadvantage and Access to Justice
Authors: Thornton, Liam
Walsh, Judy
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Date: Oct-2014
Abstract: This Part addresses the dual, interrelated themes of socio-economic rights and access to justice. Both themes raise questions about the capacity of human rights law to effect positive social change in practice. The indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights is a core feature of the contemporary human rights regime, yet the inadequacy of mechanisms for redressing socio-economic rights violations in particular continues to feature in debates about the potential of transnational and domestic legal systems to combat social exclusion. The four chapters in this section, which are introduced below, tease out how well the Convention and the ECHR Act serve the interests of people living in poverty and other vulnerable populations. Significantly, they interrogate substantive and procedural aspects of European human rights law from the vantage point of such groups. As the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights observes access to justice does not simply correlate with the ability to invoke one's rights, it also encompasses the substance of those rights: Many laws are inherently biased against persons living in poverty, do not recognize or prioritize the abuses they regularly suffer, or have a disproportionately harsh impact on them.For example, in many legal systems, economic, social and cultural rights are not sufficiently protected, and discrimination on the grounds of socioeconomic situation is not recognized. Similarly, issues such as abuses in the informal employment sector or the exploitation of tenants by landlords, all of which disproportionately affect persons living in poverty, are often not legislated against in an effective manner. Meanwhile, actions which are undertaken by persons living in poverty out of necessity, such as sleeping in public spaces or street vending, are criminalized. Hence, reforms aimed at improving access to justice by the poor must not neglect the need to modify or repeal certain laws or strengthen others.
Type of material: Book Chapter
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Keywords: Civil and political rightsECHR rightsSocio-economic rightsPovertyPublic interest lawMigration law and judicial reviewPrivate and family lifeCriminal law
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Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Is part of: Egan, S., Thornton, L. and Walsh, J. (eds.). Ireland and the European Convention on Human Rights: 60 Years and Beyond
ISBN: 9781780434728
Appears in Collections:Law Research Collection

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